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#SXSW Matt Mullenweg – WordPress more than a Blogging Software

by Shashi Bellamkonda on March 16, 2011

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SXSW 2011

Founding developer of WordPress and founder of Automattic Matt Mullenweg was interviewed by Federated Media’s John Batelle at SXSW (South by South West) on Friday, March 11th. A majority of the room raised their hands to the question of who was using WordPress and Mullenweg said that about 12% of the internet websites use WordPress. WordPress has evolved from a blogging software to a CMS system. Many in the audience agreed by raising their hands.

WordPress introduced in the past few weeks and  Matt Mullenweg spoke passionately about the new Jetpack and Guided transfer features. Here are points from the notes that I took at the session:

  • The core team has not started with v3.2 yet as they need a well deserved rest
  • The way WordPress handles media can be improved and needs more social tools
  • p2theme.com is a tool that Matt and his team have used to collaborate to reduce email
  • Matt  critiques his own work and features that WordPress offers from a user view point and is not afraid to say it
  • As people get more comfortable publishing blogs will grow and blogs matter – “Independent web”
  • Top quote by Matt Mullenweg  “The more I have given away the more I have gotten back”

There was a discussion on Tumblr and in answering questions Mullenweg  was very courteous, said he used Tumblr for his photos and that Tumblr has integrated the reading and writing experience. He talked about how Tumblr got 90 page views per visitor and WordPress got 12, obviously he would like to try to get the WordPress page views to Tumblr’s level. He praised Tumblr’s handling of photos and would like to improve the WordPress features for photographs.

For someone who is less than 30 years old Matt Mullenweg is very thoughtful, spoke very frankly and softly, was polite about competition and paraphrased Steve Jobs ‘You create a good product, tell people about it and then people will give you their money”. He answered several audience questions including one about podcasting where he agreed that  podcasting in WordPress could be easier and said improvements will continue to come as plug-ins.

Excellent Matt Mullenweg quote in the Austin Statesman Blog post by V.M Black:

“My earliest mentors (in Houston at The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts) were musicians and music teachers. I learned (from them) to not be scared when you are on stage…and that there are no shortcuts to hard work,” Mullenweg continued. Then he issued a hypothetical challenge to the panel attendees: “Are you willing to (work) it all hours of the day…all hours of the night? Are you willing to out-work (all of your competitors)?”

February through March has been a good time for WordPress:

a) Release of WordPress v3.1 – According to Mullenweg it was hardwork and he grew his bead to prove how long it took.

b) WordPress Jetpack – a plug-in available with the One-click install of WordPress at several hosting companies including Network Solutions was released last week. The plug-in has some cool tools like Polldaddy and wordpress.com stats among others. See this post for details.

c) Guided Transfer where for a $99 one-time fee WordPress.com will move your content, theme, domain, and more to any one of the recommended hosts (Network Solutions is one of them).

It was great to say hello to  Mark Jaquith, lead developer at WordPress.org, and Andrew Nacin @nacin, core developer of WordPress, at the session at #sxsw. Key takeway from the talk was that the WordPress team wants to do what is best for the WordPress user community  no matter where they are hosted. To that end they have been collborating with several of the hosting companies including Network Solutions.

Here is a video interview of Matt Mullenweg by  John Batelle at Signal Austin on Thu 10th March 2011

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    • http://www.shashi.name/ Shashib

      Another point that Matt brought up during his talk was to make the upgrades even easier and seemless. He used Mozilla and Chrome upgrades as a model of making users get the upgrades without noticing any changes. Did you attend the session?

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for this great interview..this interview is very up to the point ,really enjoyed and gained many more than you expect

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